Jake had a beautiful view of Heart Mountain in Wyoming just outside his window. And while he had always wanted to see the view from the top of the mountain, he wasn’t sure if he would ever get there. Jake was paralyzed in a motor vehicle accident in 2009, and the steep, rugged terrain on the way up Heart Mountain wasn’t exactly wheelchair friendly. But Jake’s girlfriend Kerry decided to put a plan in motion – and a team of assistants together – to get Jake to the top of the mountain.
Jake’s team consisted of his girlfriend, his parents, professional mountain guides, and the manager of Heart Mountain Ranch who says this was the organization’s first time assisting a quadriplegic up the mountain.
Jake used a special reclining chair that was 8-feet long and balanced on a single wheel. The assistants worked together to roll and lift Jake along the uneven terrain. Sometimes, Jake had to be tilted so far back that his feet were straight up in the air. “It was exciting, but it was a little bit scary,” shares Jake.
Once the team reached the summit, they stayed to enjoy the view for nearly an hour before beginning their descent. The whole trip took around 5 hours to complete. And at the end, the team was exhausted. But everyone came away with a huge sense of accomplishment. “It was terrific,” says Jake. “Overall, it was a great experience.”
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